A business seeking to improve the design and construction of log buildings, which has now turned its attention to glamping lodges, Ecolodgic is making the most of modern sawmilling technology.

DANNY Wyatt’s background is in forestry. He always had a keen interest in building, which ran in his family, with his grandfather being in the industry. This, combined with his background in forestry, led Danny to go on a timber-framing course in the West Country that he saw advertised in Forestry Journal during the early 2000s. Having learned how to construct an A-framed building, Danny returned to the course the following year to learn how to build log cabins.

As a result, Ecolodgic was born, with its first build, in 2007, an impressive log cabin, Fir Lodge, situated at the picturesque Pentney Lakes, Norfolk.

This project ignited Danny’s interest in building, with the focus turning to glamping lodges, specifically built in a dovetail notch, flattened-log style.

Forestry Journal: Danny Wyatt and Global Recycling’s Andy Dudley with the Norwood LM29 electric sawmill.Danny Wyatt and Global Recycling’s Andy Dudley with the Norwood LM29 electric sawmill.

Danny explained: “During the Fir Lodge build, I kept breaking my laser level and it had to be constantly repaired as it kept falling over. One day I was chatting to the guy who repaired it and this conversation sparked an idea of laser-scanning logs. Was there a way to laser-scan and automate this process on a CAD program to create line cuts?”

Continuing to pursue this idea, Danny teamed up with partners in Canada to develop a robotic process. However, after investing considerable time in the project, it didn’t go in the direction that Danny had hoped, and he had to rethink the process.

In 2020, he approached Andy Dudley, sales consultant at Global Recycling Solutions, to talk about electric sawmills. Andy introduced Danny to the Norwood Sawmills range and, after listening to his requirements, suggested the LumberMate LM29.

Following several conversations, an order was placed for that model and it was promptly delivered to site.

As Danny’s business continued to grow, the lengths of timber which had to be milled also increased. As the Norwood range is highly customisable, Danny contacted Global Recycling Solutions and ordered further bed extensions to accommodate the longer logs.

This took his overall bed length to 44 ft (13.4 m) and makes the mill one of the longest Norwood Sawmills in the UK.

Andy said: “Dealing with Danny was straightforward. He conveyed exactly what his business plan was and what he required from a sawmill, which is why I suggested the LM29. There were two versions available – petrol engine and electric – but as Danny already had three-phase electric on site, it made more sense for him to go for the electric version.”

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The LM29 has now been superseded by the LM30. Benefitting from larger log capacity, the LM30 has a redesigned carriage frame and blade cover. It’s available in 14 hp petrol engine and 7.5 kW electric motor, with a standard bed length of 20 ft (6 m). The LM30 has a maximum log diameter of 30” (76 cm), a maximum board width of 24” (61 cm), maximum log length before extensions of 17 ft (5.18 m), and maximum depth of cut of 8” (20 cm).

The LM30 is available with several optional extras, including feather-edge kit, log-loading ramp package, and trailer package.

Danny said: “Having the Norwood has made a big difference to the business. When I planned to come to my current site, there was the possibility of paying someone to come in with a mobile sawmill when I had a job, and they would cut the logs as we wanted, but I realised that idea was a bit crazy compared to buying a sawmill and being in complete control of it. 

“I can work in the evenings or weekends when needed. It could be worked 24/7 if necessary and it also gives me the ability to use off-cuts to make window frames, as well as giving me the full flexibility to cut long logs.”

Although Danny was new to milling, with the LM29 being his first bandsaw mill, he found it incredibly easy to pick up and use. His current project is a glamping cabin with a footprint of 9 m x 3.5 m, eaves height of 2.1 m and a ridge height of 3.5 m.

As part of a three-year plan, Danny is looking forward to launching a new brochure shortly which will have four set glamping models of different sizes, widths and lengths.

Each set option will have an additional three options so that height can be adjusted as required, mezzanine levels can be added, along with finishing extras such as sliding doors.

Forestry Journal: Ecolodgic now produces a range of buildings using its innovative process.Ecolodgic now produces a range of buildings using its innovative process.

Andy said: “After visiting Danny, I was highly impressed not only by the innovative design and construction of his builds, but also the amount of time spent preparing each log and the precision of assembly. Most people’s thoughts when you think of the construction of wooden buildings is that wood is placed on top of wood, placed on top of wood; not so in the case of Ecolodgic’s builds.”

Each log starts by being de-barked and milled top and bottom, to provide the flattened-log style. These logs are then measured and assessed for construction sizing where, after the dovetail notch is formed, a groove is cut into one side of the log to provide a seal and stability.

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As the build progresses, the logs are fixed into place with long threaded rods. Once the four main walls are formed, it’s then on to the roof and then the finer details such as the windows and doors.

Even though a build takes many weeks to complete, the impressive results speak for themselves.